Since my friend Mandy Grunwald led Bill Clinton to “The Arsenio Hall Show,” every major leading presidential candidate has had a pop-culture strategy. From Clinton playing the sax to Palin playing herself opposite Tina Fey on “Saturday Night Live,” candidates have made the rounds, presumably in search of a more authentic connection to voters than those offered on the more formal campaign stump.
But this year is shaping up a little differently. So far, Obama is dominating the late-night circuit, while Romney still considers an invitation from “Saturday Night Live.” (Note to Romney: the writers on “SNL” are REALLY good and they will make even you funny, should you decide to play.) In fact, the Romney camp seems to be considering a tactic from John McCain's campaign: turn Obama's celebrity into a liability.
The Republicans think they are on to something here. Ed put it well in his post from the other day:
As I watched Romney's very good victory speech last night, I was reminded of what a vivid stylistic contrast Romney and Obama offer voters: the exotic Obama vs. the plain, wholesome Romney. The president, cool and cerebral, vs. the chipper, happy and matter-of fact Romney. The aloof professor vs. the can-do business man. The former smoker vs. the teetotaler and smoke-free Romney. Can anyone imagine Romney holding a cocktail while smoking a cigarette?
Ed believes that voters are ready for a more "dorky and bland" president. Maybe so. But then watch this. Dorky and bland can get old pretty fast.